How This $30 Faux Gate Saved Us From Installing a New Fence

16 Sep

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See this lovely gate? It’s a fake. It doesn’t actually open. But this faux gate is much more than just a pretty face.

Last summer we woke up nearly every morning to large and numerous holes throughout our entire yard. Shrubs and flowers were dug up and cast aside. Dangerous dips in our yard became rampant.

We were unsettled every night at bedtime, and even more so each morning as we surveyed new damage. We had no idea what was causing it.

Until early one morning, around 6 am, I saw an armadillo enter into a large gap in the fence line at the back of our yard. Ah-ha!

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Hotel Armadillo entrance.

Our back fence line was comprised of two fences of our back neighbors.

Where the fences “meet” in the middle, there is a large corridor roughly 18 inches wide and 30 feet long, with openings on both ends: one to our property, and one to the property line of the two neighbors behind us.

We soon learned that this dark and damp sanctuary served as a literal breeding ground for armadillos! Continue reading

How To Dry And Preserve Hydrangeas (The Easy Way)

3 Sep

Dried hydrangeas are a long-lasting and beautiful alternative to silk flowers. In this post, I’ll give you the step-by-step process I use to enjoy them Around My Home.

Dried Hydrangeas on White Pot

THE PROCESS

–Start with fresh hydrangeas. I can’t believe how many people told me I couldn’t grow hydrangeas in Austin, yet I’ve been enjoying them in my garden for three seasons now.

Hydrangea Cover Photo Website

My favorite hydrangea pic I’ve snapped, this is my cover photo for Around My Home, Twitter, and YouTube.

–Cut the stems at an angle and place them in a vase filled with enough water to cover ~1/3 of the stems. Consider removing the leaves because they don’t look very pretty when dried.

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Love these pink beauties from my garden.

–Keep the flowers out of direct sunlight and heat.

–Allow the water in the vase to evaporate over the course of a few days.

–Do not refill or refresh the water.

–Once the water is evaporated, let the hydrangeas remain in the same vase until the flowers have dried completely. Do not hang them upside down, which does not work well for hydrangeas.

Continue reading

Pottery Barn Lamp Makeover (and Chalk Paint Sneak Peek)

19 Aug

I recently scored these Pottery Barn lamps for $10 on Craigslist and gave them a major makeover.

Here’s my favorite after shot:

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Here’s the before photo from the original Craigslist ad:

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When I got the lamps home and began my post-purchase inspection, I definitely wondered what I’d been thinking when I bought them.

The peeling, rusting finish in this pic should give you an idea of their poor condition:

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I got busy scraping with my putty knife and then sanded with 150 grit sandpaper.

When I removed the lampshades, I was greeted by even more rust. So I sanded away.

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After sanding and cleaning the lamps thoroughly, I taped them off with painters tape and enclosed the cord in a plastic grocery bag.

Shhhhh….I smuggled in the plastic grocery bag from a different city due to a bag ban ordinance in Austin.

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Continue reading

DIY Pillows – Sew Easy!

5 Aug

I love throw pillows and the way they instantly change the look of a room. I just don’t love the price tag!

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Ahhhh…looks so inviting to me. Hubby just wants to know where people will sit now with all these pillows.

I had tried making some envelope pillows with fabric glue after reading this post on one of my favorite DIY blogs.

Mine fell apart.

My mom suggested sewing some instead and I laughed. I had never even held a needle and thread in my hand before – ever. She then offered to give me a sewing tutorial.

Following my mom’s patient instruction, I conquered my fears and completed my first sewing project – DIY Pillows!

Continue reading

My Top Favorite Thrifty Finds

22 Jul

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There are treasures to be discovered at thrift stores, estate sales, and even some retailers. There’s also plenty of over-priced junk. I’ve purchased both.

Sometimes I leave empty-handed. Sometimes my hoarding tendencies kick in and I buy something I don’t need or want.

But sometimes, I find just the perfect thing for Around My Home, so I thought I’d share a few of my favorite finds with you in this post.

Continue reading

How To Prune Roses to Promote More Flowering

15 Jul

I absolutely love roses. These Julia Child roses blooming in my garden are beautiful and smell delicious. I love walking outside when they are in full bloom because the entire yard is perfumed by their delightful scent. IMG_9458

Roses are not hard to care for, but they do have some specific growing requirements.

One of the most beneficial things you can do to promote flowering for your roses is knowing when and how to prune them.

knockout roses

Continue reading

More Ways to Take The Sting Out of Mosquito Bites This Summer

9 Jul

Since posting the original version of this article, I’ve discovered two must-have tools for the mosquito-fighting arsenal Around My Home.

Mosquito Lantern

The first is the lantern you see on the left. It emits odorless butane to repel mosquitoes in an area of ~200 square feet and has the added feature of an actual light for night-time use.

I purchased several of these lanterns at The Home Depot and they are perfect for outdoor gatherings – one on each table and you have both function and decoration!

The second item is the Alba Lavender Sunscreen on the far right. I’ve tried other brands and scents, but this one really seems to repel mosquitoes effectively for me. I apply the emollient lotion to exposed areas of skin before venturing outside and am usually able to survive dusk without a bite.

The information contained in the original article is all still relevant, so I’ve pasted it in its entirety below.

Hopefully this quick post will give you some new ways to gain relief from mosquitoes this summer!

Continue reading

New Life For This Old Vanity Bench

1 Jul

I recently completed transforming this antique vanity bench from this:

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To this:

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I loved this bench the instant I saw it. It cost me $8 at an estate sale. The wood structure of the bench was sound, but the cushion was n-a-s-t-y.

THE PROCESS

First, I removed the cushion with a screwdriver and thoroughly cleaned the wood structure of the bench with TSP. I decided to re-use the piece of plywood for the base of the cushion, which involved removing about five million staples.

Each morning for about a week, I spent ~30 minutes removing those pesky staples. That was not fun.

The fabric and stuffing from the old cushion was disgusting and smelly, so I didn’t re-use any of it.

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Once cleaned and dried, I lightly sanded the piece using a 220 sanding sponge.

Sanding roughs up the top layer of finish and years of oil and dirt to prepare the surface for priming and painting. Continue reading

Budget Decorating: Re-purposing Old Books

15 Jun

During a recent trip to Restoration Hardware to buy paint for our kitchen makeover, I took a quick peek around and instantly fell in love with this look:

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A closer inspection revealed a small stack of what appeared to be old paperback books sans covers and bound together in a neat little package with twine.

I was surprised to find a price tag – RH sells these bundles for $15 each! Are you kidding me?!

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I loved the look but decided I could probably create it myself for close to free.

So I marched right home and instantly went to work.  Okay, it was really about two weeks later in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep and was looking for something to do and remembered the book idea.

I pulled out some books that I was getting ready to donate and reviewed my stack of recent thrift store book purchases, too.

I was completely delighted (insert happy squeal here) to discover some twine in my husband’s workshop. Yay, Honey for having twine!

I was able to quickly put this bundle together in just a few minutes:

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Continue reading

Today I Remember

26 May

Around My Home, we fly the American flag on Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and several other times a year. It’s one way we can publicly display gratitude for our troops.

Today I remember the men and women who have fought bravely to defend this country that I love.

Today I remember that I am able to experience many enjoyable moments during this three-day weekend: grilling in the backyard, getting in some much-needed rest, and spending time with my family, because of the selfless sacrifice of others.

Today I remember my uncle, who served in the Air Force, my brother who was in the National Guard and now serves in law enforcement, and my grandfather who was a Detroit firefighter for more than 20 years. (Although I know that the fire department is not part of the military, I always thought of my grandfather as a public defender and patriot.)

Today I remember and say thank you to the men and women of our military who selflessly protect the freedom that I cherish.

And today I say thank you to the families that love them.

May God bless America and those that love her,

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